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Bellson

3 Faction Systems Don't Work

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Hey Guys,

Before you jump down my throat calling me negative, just hear me out.  This is an observation across many games, not just Crowfall. 

To start this out, this is my first full run of a campaign, my first time hitting level cap on multiple characters and my first time really participating in the test in any serious fashion...  With that said, I can already see that the 3 faction system in this game, like all games, is failing miserably.  One of two things happens... 1) the zerg joins one faction and establishes absolute control over the map and the game is not fun for anybody or 2) population is split pretty evenly between two factions and the last one gets absolutely left in the dust...

This has been seen in every 3 faction game I have ever played...  DAoC, Planetside, Planetside 2, Guild wars...  
 

Are there any mechanics in Crowfall to persuade people into playing the lower pop factions (bonus to xp, loot rewards, crafting bonuses)?  When the game releases Dregs, are campaigns going to go the way of the dinosaur?  What are your thoughts and how would you address this problem? 


Why waste time being toxic? There are plenty of other people on the internet already doing that.

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I doubt anyone will jump down your throat, you're opinion is pretty spot-on in terms of the majority of people here. 

A lot of the well organized guilds in CF at the moment are awaiting the fabled, fated, much-worshipped, even lauded, DREGS (queue angelic hymns) campaign to save us all. I'm not sure it's going to be the bandaid that fixes everything but it will be a welcome change of pace from the last 10 years of MMO pvp for sure. But, from what I understand, 3-faction rulesets will exist as a sort of logical next step up from God's Reach. 

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I agree with your points about more then 2 sides.  I remember Todd talking about an idea in the Dregs where as the game progresses, the guilds have to condense down and there are less and less sides fighting until it gets to the end.  Maybe with the 3 faction world they could condense the third losing faction to one of the other factions making it a two faction fight at the end.  Not sure if that would be to have them join the losing faction or to split the faction among the two.  But it might make the end of the campaign more interesting.

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3 hours ago, kalannar said:

I agree with your points about more then 2 sides.  I remember Todd talking about an idea in the Dregs where as the game progresses, the guilds have to condense down and there are less and less sides fighting until it gets to the end.  Maybe with the 3 faction world they could condense the third losing faction to one of the other factions making it a two faction fight at the end.  Not sure if that would be to have them join the losing faction or to split the faction among the two.  But it might make the end of the campaign more interesting.

I think in the Dregs, that process is going to happen by attrition.  It happened the exact same way in Shadowbane.  It was hundreds of stand alone guilds vying for control of small areas until people realized there was a benefit in creating alliances with others (whether it be for keep defense, discipline farming, etc).  As soon as a single entity got too big, the others banded together in some capacity, whether official or otherwise, to shut them down. 


3 faction system would have to be a forced mechanic.  Theoretically, Chaos and Order should band together to topple balance because it would be mutually beneficial, but the trend I see in this game structure is that the 2 smaller factions fighter each other for the scraps of the super-giant.  Also, it is inherently difficult to balance faction population based on lore because lore matters to a lot of gamers and the least popular lore will lose out every time.  

The one way I have seen to balance the battle a bit is to appeal to a gamer's most basic instinct...  their need for 1337 loot and gold...  
(ex.  Balance is severely overpopulated so they get hit with a penalty to gold drops or xp.  you can explain it away with lore and taxation to feed the starving children of the realm.  The middle population would receive neither a bonus nor penalty as a result of the same logic and the least populated realm would get a bonus because there are simply more resources than people)  


Why waste time being toxic? There are plenty of other people on the internet already doing that.

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It's important to understand that the imbalances that can come from a three faction system begin and end with the game's underlying design.  It's not that the 3 faction system doesn't work, it just doesn't apply well when its not carefully implemented.

There's not a single solution to this problem, it must be addressed in multiple ways.  Here are a few:

Friendly-fire - There is one truism with zergs - they're impossible to micro.  With friendly-fire enabled, ability spam is a problem shared by all, not just the side that's outnumbered.  Obviously, this can be taken advantage of...so a system would need to be developed to prevent griefing...but there are a lot of examples to choose from.

Harvesting/Crafting bonuses - One problem with faction based systems is that the under-populated side loses in all areas of the game.  They're outnumbered in PvP, have less harvesting/crafting output potential, less options to farm XP, etc etc.  One way to balance this is to increase harvesting yield/crafting success for the under-populated side.  Or even XP boosts.

Full-Loot PvP - This is already planned if I remember correctly.  Even if your side is losing the faction-war, it doesn't mean PvP is worthless.

Faction-less - ACE has come up with the solution to the "end-game" by creating campaigns that have an end.  There's no reason to stop there.  Why not run a factionless campaign where guilds themselves are the "factions."

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1 minute ago, Kest said:

Faction-less - ACE has come up with the solution to the "end-game" by creating campaigns that have an end.  There's no reason to stop there.  Why not run a factionless campaign where guilds themselves are the "factions."

This has been planned all along, and is expected in the next major patch. These campaigns are called "Dregs" campaigns.


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Agreed. RvR can be fun when the combat and gameplay mechanics are fun and engaging, but those issues indeed exist. 

But honestly unless Dregs have some really interesting scoring and objective mechanics it'll just devolve into 2 or 3 megazergs capping keeps in the end as well. The issues with this GvG system is that it becomes a zergy hugfest with alliances replacing factions. Some ppl enjoy the politics of that more than factions tho, so there's that I guess. 


 

 

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17 hours ago, Rikutatis said:

Agreed. RvR can be fun when the combat and gameplay mechanics are fun and engaging, but those issues indeed exist. 

But honestly unless Dregs have some really interesting scoring and objective mechanics it'll just devolve into 2 or 3 megazergs capping keeps in the end as well. The issues with this GvG system is that it becomes a zergy hugfest with alliances replacing factions. Some ppl enjoy the politics of that more than factions tho, so there's that I guess. 

Having the game devolve into 2 megazergs is kind of their goal and I can see why.  In order for the campaign to end, somebody has to win.  The difference is that having 2 megazergs is way better than having 1 and not even standing a chance at winning. 

 


Why waste time being toxic? There are plenty of other people on the internet already doing that.

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22 hours ago, Rikutatis said:

Agreed. RvR can be fun when the combat and gameplay mechanics are fun and engaging, but those issues indeed exist. 

But honestly unless Dregs have some really interesting scoring and objective mechanics it'll just devolve into 2 or 3 megazergs capping keeps in the end as well. The issues with this GvG system is that it becomes a zergy hugfest with alliances replacing factions. Some ppl enjoy the politics of that more than factions tho, so there's that I guess. 

 

Ultimately, you're going to have to accept that there will always be zergs in MMORPGs that offer PvP as the front-line content of choice.

A zerg only becomes a problem when the game's design only offers a join or lose choice.  As far as I can tell, Crowfall has more outlets for finding meaning in PvP beyond the simple choices.  And even if they don't, it's not a large task to get there.  As I mentioned before, with a concept as simple as friendly-fire and full-loot PvP in place, you have just created an alternate meaning to PvP that has nothing to do with your faction's success in the campaign.

I think the main problem ACE will have to grapple with - in reference to the zerg -  is server performance.  An interesting problem to solve programmatically and operationally, but very difficult to reach the point you want to be.

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I think what we've seen in the Faction campaigns, in a way, is a Dregs-like campaign. Over time, guilds have slowly filtered away into being on two opposite sides. The difference right now, in a faction setting, versus the Dregs, is guild/player control over who gets to be under whatever shared banner. I think this factional campaign style shows how important Dregs will be for this sort of gameplay, and I think like many, I'm looking forward to it. 

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6 hours ago, Bellson said:

Having the game devolve into 2 megazergs is kind of their goal and I can see why.  In order for the campaign to end, somebody has to win.  The difference is that having 2 megazergs is way better than having 1 and not even standing a chance at winning. 

 

 

Your scenario of just one unstoppable megazerg is also perfectly possible in the Dregs assuming the scoring objectives aren't much different than current ones in Faction. I cited 2 or 3 megazergs as best case scenario assuming a healthy population of a few thousand at least. 

 

1 hour ago, Kest said:

 

Ultimately, you're going to have to accept that there will always be zergs in MMORPGs that offer PvP as the front-line content of choice.

A zerg only becomes a problem when the game's design only offers a join or lose choice.  As far as I can tell, Crowfall has more outlets for finding meaning in PvP beyond the simple choices.  And even if they don't, it's not a large task to get there.  As I mentioned before, with a concept as simple as friendly-fire and full-loot PvP in place, you have just created an alternate meaning to PvP that has nothing to do with your faction's success in the campaign.

I think the main problem ACE will have to grapple with - in reference to the zerg -  is server performance.  An interesting problem to solve programmatically and operationally, but very difficult to reach the point you want to be.

I know there'll be zergs, maybe I didn't express myself too well. My point is that the game can have gameplay/mechanics that either leave the megazerg as the ultimate best solution to everything, or it can at the very least have gameplay and mechanics that encourage and give a chance to smaller groups to be competitive and fight back. For example, you mentioned friendly fire. Based on everything they said so far, it doesn't seem like Dregs will have different rules for friendly fire from faction ruleset. Most likely guilds and alliances will be FF immune and able to deathball like factions. If the current scoring mechanic from factions is more or less transplanted to Dregs (build and hold keeps and forts for points), that doesn't look too hopeful either. A long time ago they mentioned a Bloodstone ruleset that sounded much more interesting, hope they go for something more along those lines. Even the base combat itself with AoE caps and similar stuff doesn't help either.

Just so it doesn't seem like I'm spouting pipe dreams here, I'll mention the current MMO I'm playing, Conqueror's Blade. Yea, the game naturally evolved into 2-3 megazergs dominating. But there's still a few mechanisms in place that favor smaller groups and allow them to compete. Sieges having a cap of 15 players each side, what's happening is that multiple smaller independent forces there have been able to hold smaller portions of land from the megazerg. Also the map being absolutely gigantic, 5 regions with tons of fiefs to fight for, and slow overworld travel speed, it's been impossible for a single unclebob to steamroll it all. Really hard for a megazerg to dominate an entire region and then push for a second, even with close to one thousand players. I know CF is different, but just saying, devs put the mechanisms in place to shape player behavior. 


 

 

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Posted (edited)

Honestly I think the original system, where balance's win condition was simply to prevent order and chaos from gaining too much control is still a workable one.

The problem it had was there was no tech to correctly assign friend/enemy status so that balance was forced to engage the dominant faction, and that balance had the ability to own objectives. Their ability to own things basically made winning too easy. They got all the benefits of capturing stuff on top of extra victory progress just because other teams were evenly matched while the other teams only had their own captures.

Assuming you're doing pop balancing in factions (and you have to. letting people pick a faction leads directly to every problem in the OP) the implementation of a built in "neutral" faction that automatically load balances the other two was a solid idea hampered more by poor implementation than the fact that it was a bad design.

Balance should always be capturing for the underdog, always, be hostile to the dominant faction, and always friendly to the losing faction. Cases where the holdings for order and chaos are relatively equal (in a rather narrow "dead zone" rather than exactly equal) are where balance would be hostile to everyone, but they still lack the ability to own anything, and in stead only have the ability to flip stuff. In this state, balance would gain keep-style buffs (improved crafting benches, additional vendors if applicable, etc.) in their temple, and their temple would be located in the free city.

Balance in this case (since they can't own anything) would need slightly altered respawn rules as well if they're in the balance deadzone. Something like they can respawn within mob camps or some other uncapturable POI.

This make's balance's siege conditions 100% dependant on helping the underdog and hurting the winner, or jealously disrupting any attempts for either to move ahead if they're currently achieving that balance deadzone.

This basic faction rule could pretty easily apply to any campaign objective once the ground work is laid out, and if faction campaign auto-assign players where they're needed could help faction campaigns feel fresh as people may or may not end up on a side trying to win or a side trying to be balance.

Edited by PopeUrban

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Rub rock on face and say "Yes food is eaten now time for fight"

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1 minute ago, Archiebunker82 said:

@Felagunda I have been gone from Crowfall for some time but if i remember right they cap the amount of people that could be on each faction keeping one faction from being to big. That may have changed in the past year. A lot has seemed to change. 

There was a zone cap for performance issues but never this. 


40 minutes ago, Andius said:

W/HoA were held up as like these mystical forces of highly skilled players with legendary theorycrafters chained to a desk in some deep dungeon holding all the arcane secrets we could use to win if only we knew them.

wiDfyPp.png

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On 8/2/2019 at 12:24 AM, PopeUrban said:

Honestly I think the original system, where balance's win condition was simply to prevent order and chaos from gaining too much control is still a workable one.

The problem it had was there was no tech to correctly assign friend/enemy status so that balance was forced to engage the dominant faction, and that balance had the ability to own objectives. Their ability to own things basically made winning too easy. They got all the benefits of capturing stuff on top of extra victory progress just because other teams were evenly matched while the other teams only had their own captures.

Assuming you're doing pop balancing in factions (and you have to. letting people pick a faction leads directly to every problem in the OP) the implementation of a built in "neutral" faction that automatically load balances the other two was a solid idea hampered more by poor implementation than the fact that it was a bad design.

Balance should always be capturing for the underdog, always, be hostile to the dominant faction, and always friendly to the losing faction. Cases where the holdings for order and chaos are relatively equal (in a rather narrow "dead zone" rather than exactly equal) are where balance would be hostile to everyone, but they still lack the ability to own anything, and in stead only have the ability to flip stuff. In this state, balance would gain keep-style buffs (improved crafting benches, additional vendors if applicable, etc.) in their temple, and their temple would be located in the free city.

Balance in this case (since they can't own anything) would need slightly altered respawn rules as well if they're in the balance deadzone. Something like they can respawn within mob camps or some other uncapturable POI.

This make's balance's siege conditions 100% dependant on helping the underdog and hurting the winner, or jealously disrupting any attempts for either to move ahead if they're currently achieving that balance deadzone.

This basic faction rule could pretty easily apply to any campaign objective once the ground work is laid out, and if faction campaign auto-assign players where they're needed could help faction campaigns feel fresh as people may or may not end up on a side trying to win or a side trying to be balance.

the problem with that proposal is: balance then has the easiest winning conditions. they just have to overcome the difference between chaos and order, while chaos or order would need to dominate the campaign and would actually need a lopsided match to win, wich one should try to avoid.

if balance' win condition is to have a balanced camapaign, then they should not compete against chaos and order.

basically the faction campaign would then be chaos vs order for the prestige rewards like currently the sigil or arkon and balance has just the job to balance the campaign and will be rewarded in resources that they can use in other campaigns or dregs, maybe even skill tomes if we do get them.

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5 hours ago, Used said:

the problem with that proposal is: balance then has the easiest winning conditions. they just have to overcome the difference between chaos and order, while chaos or order would need to dominate the campaign and would actually need a lopsided match to win, wich one should try to avoid.

if balance' win condition is to have a balanced camapaign, then they should not compete against chaos and order.

basically the faction campaign would then be chaos vs order for the prestige rewards like currently the sigil or arkon and balance has just the job to balance the campaign and will be rewarded in resources that they can use in other campaigns or dregs, maybe even skill tomes if we do get them.

In order to defend the deadzone condition balance would have to simultaneously fight the other two factions and never do so from a defended position due to the inability to own structures, and never gets to choose the terms of engagement. That means no home field advantage, longer world travel times on average, and absolutely zero safety in the open world.

I don't think that's easier. Its just an alternate set of challenges.

Again the problem with the original implementation was that balance had this win condition alongside owning structures, and that the "dead zone" was too wide. That dead zone needs to be extremely narrow to ensure balance really has to bust ass flipping objectives to keep it stable.


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Rub rock on face and say "Yes food is eaten now time for fight"

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9 minutes ago, oneply said:

I hope in dregs alliances cannot win, only a guild can win. Creates a condition that at some point they have to turn on each other. That can be a deterrent to megazergs 

Exactly! Only one guild (with a member cap) should be able to win and get the spoils. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ZYBAK said:

Exactly! Only one guild (with a member cap) should be able to win and get the spoils. 

We could just trade wins.  poorly made socks winning is often less important than ensuring my enemy loses everything. 

Edited by mandalore

40 minutes ago, Andius said:

W/HoA were held up as like these mystical forces of highly skilled players with legendary theorycrafters chained to a desk in some deep dungeon holding all the arcane secrets we could use to win if only we knew them.

wiDfyPp.png

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